Reconnection Driven by the Rayleigh–Taylor Instability and Its Application to Radial Transport in the Giant Magnetospheres

Friday, 19 December 2014
Xuanye Ma, Peter A Delamere and Antonius Otto, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK, United States
One of the critical differences between the giant magnetospheres (e.g.Jupiter and Saturn) and the terrestrial magnetosphere is the large amount of plasma produced by their satellites. Driven by the centrifugal force, this plasma will move radially outward. As such, the frozen-in condition implies that the magnetic flux will also be advected outward. Therefore, conservation of magnetic flux requires a magnetic flux refilling mechanism. One of the plausible mechanisms is magnetic reconnection. As a first step to quantitatively approach this question, we investigated the Rayleigh–Taylor instability (RTI) by using a three-dimensional MHD simulation. In this presentation, we will demonstrate two types of magnetic reconnection driven by the RTI corresponding to different magnetic configurations, and discuss their applications to the giant magnetospheres.